Skype is about to become much more social with the launch of Skype 5.0. Today, the company announced that the new version of Skype 5.0 for Windows will include a deep Facebook integration, which was initially reported by All Things Digital a few weeks ago.
After logging in via Facebook Connect, you’ll be able to see your Facebook News Feed with the Skype interface, post status updates that can be synced with your Skype mood message and comment and like friends’ updates and wall posts.
In terms of actual integration with the VoIP end of things, you can now call and SMS your Facebook friends on their mobile phones and landlines from Skype. You can also make a make a free Skype-to-Skype call if your Facebook friend is also a Skype contact.
Video calling is on the rise (video calling on Skype accounted for approximately 40% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes in the first half of this year), so Skype is giving users a free trial of group video calling.
The new version of Skype also features automatic call recovery, which helps you immediately reconnect calls that are interrupted due to Internet connection problems. Lastly, Skype will include an improved UI and a new home dashboard which features a feed of mood messages from your contacts, and tutorials on Skype features and more.
Clearly the big news here is the Facebook integration, which is a big win for Skype when it comes to adding a social component to its product. It could help Skype, which is filing for an IPO, expand its userbase (Skype currently has 560 million registered users), and it make the VoIP product more relevant in Facebook users day-to-day interactions. It should be interesting to see where the two companies take this partnership and if the integration extends to Skype’s mobile apps. Of course, Facebook could just buy Skype.